No one wants foot surgery.
That’s a simple fact, and we get it. Even though we’ve got a team of highly trained surgeons on staff, we’d absolutely love it if there were a way to fix every problem conservatively. We’re guessing you’d probably like that, too.
But that isn’t the world we live in. And while no one really likes getting surgery, most people like living in constant pain a whole lot less.
The good news, however, is that we often can prevent surgeries for many patients, using our extensive and advanced non-invasive treatment options, including custom orthotics or laser therapy.
And even in those times when surgery is absolutely necessary, or simply the most effective course of action available, you have a team of highly trained and experienced surgeons who will take good care of you.
Who Is Surgery Right For?
Generally speaking, surgery is typically recommended in situations where your pain is affecting your day-to-day living, or preventing you from engaging in activities that are important to you and that you really enjoy. In other words, your quality of life is suffering.
Usually, we’ll also recommend that you attempt any non-invasive treatment options that may be successful before moving on to surgery.
A lot of our patients are concerned about pain and recovery time associated with surgery. Yes, the time spent recovering is not always fun. However, a successful operation, paired with the right postoperative instructions, will help your health and can actually significantly reduce your pain in the long run. And that’s the main goal of any foot surgery.
There are a variety of conditions we could treat with surgery. These include:
- Ankle sprains
- Ingrown toenails
- Heel spurs
- Tendon surgery
- Flat feet
- Fusions for arthritis
- Heel spurs
Now, the procedure, recovery time, postoperative care instructions, and particulars will depend upon the condition you have, but this is a good list to get you started.
Please note that some of these conditions may require surgery, but most likely will not. Surgery is not our go-to- recommendation for a bunion, but it could be a viable option for certain people, if conservative options do not help. Our staff can help you make that decision, based on the specifics of your health.
Who is Surgery Not Right for?
There are some patients who will simply not benefit from surgery. This depends on your medical history, of course. Some conditions are more likely to need surgery than others. A serious ankle injury might require surgery, but a case of plantar fasciitis most likely will not. (Of course, there are exceptions.) Don’t think of this list below as an exhaustive one, but rather a good place to start.
- Patients who haven’t tried less invasive options. There’s no need for surgery if we know that you haven’t tried custom orthotics, or another option we believe can be successful. We might recommend an effective, but noninvasive treatment like laser therapy if you come in to see us about sore heels.
- People with certain conditions. For instance, we wouldn’t first go to surgery for heel pain if you’re a runner. It’s much more likely that we could treat your concern with certain other treatments.
- People with certain medical histories. Consult with us to determine if your personal medical history makes surgery a possible option. For certain people, the risk of complications may be too high to justify non-emergency surgical procedures. (However, these situations are fairly rare.)
Why You Shouldn’t Be Afraid of Surgery
We completely understand why a patient might be hesitant to undergo surgery. Losing your mobility, downtime away from work, and experiencing discomfort is no fun, and we sympathize.
However, we often find that most of our patients are usually pleasantly surprised when they realize just how beneficial surgery can be!
Again, these bullet points will vary, depending on the surgery and patient, but many of our patients are relieved to learn that:
- Your recovery doesn’t have to be painful. Rest assured, we’ll make sure you have the proper pain medication, if needed.
- Your recovery time will probably be shorter than you’d expect. This, of course, depends on the procedure. An ingrown toenail surgery will have you back on your feet quicker than an ankle surgery. However, rest assured that we’ll give you very detailed postoperative care instructions when you leave our office. If you follow these instructions to the letter, you’ll be back on your feet in no time.
- Surgery prevents problems from getting worse. If you’ve got a doozy of an ingrown toenail, for instance, moving to stop the issue from getting worse is our best plan of attack. The surgery may not have been your first choice, but it will keep that nail from growing into your skin and will save you a lot of discomfort in the long run. You may even prevent a nasty infection.
- Surgery might actually be a more cost-effective solution. You could regularly come in to see our office for an issue with your ankle and we’d be happy to help. We might recommend a stretching or mobility training program. However, if you have a lingering tendon injury, it’ll be more cost effective to operate and fix the problem at the source.
- A lot of surgeries can be finished very quickly. This will again depend on the condition. Still, some procedures produce great results in little to no time. Most of our surgeries are performed outpatient, as well, with no need for a hospital stay. You can go home the same day.
How Can You Tell If Surgery is Right for You?
Imagine asking a carpenter to let you know what your best course of action for filing your taxes is. That’s a pretty ridiculous place to look for answers.
In that same way, you’re just going to be up the creek without a paddle if you try to answer the question “Do I need surgery?” on your own. You might be able to consult Dr. Google, DPM, for a brief idea of how to answer this question, but this has plenty of limitations.
(Disclaimer: Don’t trust Dr. Google wholeheartedly. Search results are a great way to review your symptoms, but they really can’t compare to the advice of a medical professional.)
Even asking a general care practitioner can be problematic. They might be able to give you their thoughts, but a general practice doctor cannot give you the specialized and expert knowledge needed to make that call. He or she will not have the extensive experience of a specialist when it comes to your specific condition.
However, there is one place you can go to take care of this. To request an appointment with our Carmichael, CA office, simply give us a call at (916) 961-3434 and a team member will be happy to answer any questions or help set up your visit.
If you’d prefer, you can also contact our practice online right now.